12 High (and Low) Notes From ‘The Voice’ Top 10 Performances (Guest Blog)

A Season 2 Alum, I blog about the NBC talent competition every week for TheWrap

We’re at a pretty crucial part of the competition – whittling it down from the Top 10 to the Top 8. Now there’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s grab a couple beers and talk this week’s “The Voice.”

1. The bat has landed.
Coach Cee Lo Green channeled Zorro last week, and now he’s giving off a “Batman in repose” vibe… maybe? OK, I’m not really sure what’s happening here, but I appreciate his efforts to keep it Cee Lo.

2. Best velvet jacket.
Between his killer velvet jacket, piano prowess and high energy performance, Will Champlin’s “Love Me” was one of the most entertaining moments of the night. He managed to take a song that’s not well known in the US and send us all to iTunes looking for the original (some sly cross-promotion from Universal Republic – PROPS!).

Also read: 13 Highs (and Lows) From ‘The Voice’ Live Shows Week 2 (Guest Blog)

3. If it ain’t broke…
I’m all for taking chances, but dramatic changes in direction didn’t do Austin Jenckes or Jacquie Lee any favors this week. Austin's “Your Love” was not well suited to his particular talents, and Jacquie’s “Clarity” didn’t really lock in until the last third of the song. Coaches – when it comes to song choices, sometimes we need less “shock and awe” and more “awe” (IE: try playing to a contestant’s strengths).

4. If you crossed “Phantom of the Opera” with Florence & The Machine…
You would probably get last night’s performance from Kat Robichaud. Her take on “We Belong” was visually stunning, and despite a few vocal hiccups due to some intense choreography, it went well. Keeping that in mind, I’m wondering why we needed all the bells and whistles when Kat IS the bells and whistles?

5. This one time at band camp…
“Leaving on a Jet Plane” was a song Caroline Pennell felt compelled to sing because of some fond childhood memories and CAMP (Aww). I think her motivation was sweet, but I really wish Ceelo had said “Listen, I love you, but this is not a good idea.” The song was entirely too sleepy for this stage of the competition and may have set her back with voters. While I appreciate the idea of letting Caroline follow her bliss, I also think this would be a good time to make more calculated choices.

Also read: ‘The Voice,’ ‘X Factor’ Hit All-Time Ratings Lows Thursday – But Here's Why

6. Best vocal performance.
This would have to go to Tessanne Chin for her passionate rendition of “If I Was Your Woman.” Gladys Knight is no joke, you guys, which makes me doubly impressed with Tessanne’s fantastic performance this week. I’m just hoping the classic song plays well with younger voters, because this woman has definitely earned her spot in the Top 8.

7. I’d like a side of fire with my “Swamp Pop.”
I have complicated feelings for Ray Boudreaux. His voice is one of the most distinctive in the competition, but his lack of connection onstage is problematic. Last night’s “You are the Best Thing” was good, but I want to see more of the fire I hear in his voice show in his performance. I think that is all he’s missing to transition from merely good to awesome.

8. Yoga night with Auntie Christina.
Coach Christina Aguilera’s yoga segments were adorable and basically made me want to take yoga with Christina. Hey girl – CALL ME.

Also read: 16 Best (and Worst) Moments From ‘The Voice’ Live Shows Week 1 (Guest Blog)

9. The James Wolpert blender.
I love James Wolpert, but his “Without You” just didn’t sit right last night. Since the gorgeous “A Case Of You,” there seems to have been some confusion about his musical arc on the show. Coach Adam Levine talked about how he puts his covers through “The James Wolpert” blender. That’s cool, but what are we making? A juice? A green smoothie? Soup? Let’s decide before the season’s over, eh?

10. You say potato; I say piano.
I’m going to have to disagree with coach Blake Shelton on whether Cole Vosbury’s “Be With You” is better on guitar or piano (I call piano, because there is nothing sexier than a bearded man playing piano). Despite that, Cole came out a winner with one of the more solid performances this week. There’s something wholly likeable about him onstage, and that is incredibly important when voters are involved.

11. My 80’s Mix.
Between Austin, James, Kat and Cole’s song selections, we revisited the 80’s pretty often this week. Cole and his beard took the lead, because Movember, but all this 80’s appreciation delighted me.

Also read: 11 Standout Moments From ‘The Voice’ Knockout Rounds (Guest Blog)

12. Hello ladies.
Come on, Matthew Schuler. I appreciate the self-deprecation, but as Adam said – you will have no problems finding a wife after last night’s “Beneath Your Beautiful.” While I don’t think it was your best performance, you’re one of the most consistently “on” players in the competition. You’re also pretty adorable. Now ladies? Ready, set…go get him!

Coming up: Who do you think will survive Tuesday’s eliminations? Who do you think will require the “Instant Save?”

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and I’ll see you next week!

Don’t forget to check out my new album “In & Out of the Dark,” which is available on iTunes NOW: https://itun.es/us/2BjbP. For more updates, follow me on Twitter at @katrinapmusic and visit my website, www.katrinaparker.com.

“The Voice” eliminations air at 9/8c Tuesday on NBC.

  • Ruth

    Love your recaps! In my opinion, everyone seemed off last night. There wasn't one performance that stood out as being great so I'll be okay with any outcome tonight. Except Caroline – she needs to stay because she's just so lovable and has great potential.

    • Katrina Parker

      Agree on Caroline! I'm so relieved she's lived to see another week. Fingers crossed they find the right songs for her!

  • lville

    Had the exact same reaction to Caroline Pennell's choice. If she picked that song for the “blinds” she would be watching from home.

    • Katrina Parker

      Yeah, it wasn't my favorite Caroline moment, but I love her…and am thrilled she's still in it!

  • D Martin

    I wonder what CeeLo will be next week? :)
    I agree about Tessanne – her performance last night was amazing so I think she'll be safe. I'm worried about Austin and Ray though…

    • Katrina Parker

      Well he's already covered Zorro and Batman…maybe Superman?? I'm excited to find out. ;)

  • David Perkins

    Wonderful post, as usual. My imperfect power ranking method is more imperfect than ever this week, largely because the results on iTunes don't necessarily paint a clear picture of what's to come. It's probably safe to say that Matthew, Cole, Caroline and James are the ‘safe’ top four. Matthew is starting to distance himself from the pack, and is the current overall leader. Cole, Caroline and James all trended up from last week. In the middle four, Tessanne and Ray trended up this week, while Will and Jacquie slipped. The bottom two is most likely Kat and Austin. It's difficult to predict who from the middle four will join Kat and Austin for the Instant Save. It's probably not Tessanne. But, in many ways, the same could be said for Will, Ray and Jacquie. It should be a very interesting results show — for about six minutes at the end.

  • Margaret Kraft

    I was underwhelmed in general last night. I'm still a huge fan of Caroline, but thought that song did not serve her well. It is next to impossible to find fault with Tessanne. I thought Cole was great. I hope Kat has a better showing this week–I thought her performance was great. {Inserting minor pet peeve: Pat Benatar gets great kudos for making a hit of the song “We Belong.” She absolutely owns a piece of it. However, it was written by some very dear friends of mine–Dan Navarro and Eric Lowen.}

    • Katrina Parker

      Agreed, it was definitely an off week overall. I'm just relieved Caroline has another chance (now if they can only nail the song choice). I was not happy to see Kat go. She was a fantastic entertainer and really scrappy – it was easy to root for her!

      “We Belong” is an amazing song – your friends are pretty brilliant, eh? :)

  • David Perkins

    I'm completely surprised that Caroline fell into the Bottom 3. I've followed iTunes charts since Season 3, and (while it's not perfect) it's typically not far off. This week was a grand aberration. ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ ended up at #30 on the iTunes chart when voting closed. That was a higher chart position than all of the artists except Matthew, Cole and James. Normally, that should have been enough to ensure her safety, It wasn't. Yes, Caroline had a fairly dismal showing on the chart in the previous week, but even that was better than half of the Top 12 artists alive at the time. So, what happened? Are Caroline's fans tiring of her style? Did Caroline's fan base take a week off to watch DWTS? Did Caroline's fan base suddenly defect to Jacquie's camp? I do not know. Clearly, iTunes charting isn't a foolproof method of gauging contestants’ overall ranking with voters. But, this week was very, very strange. I can't wait to see how odd it gets next week.

    • Katrina Parker

      This was just an odd week, and I think that was also reflected in the iTunes charts where none of the artists broke the Top 10 (unusual for this stage in the competition). I agree iTunes ranking can be a good indicator, but yeah none of it's foolproof.

      In previous seasons the show would do Facebook posts about each competitor, and the number of likes was a great indicator of what was to come (but they haven't been doing that this season). I will say it's nice to be surprised? It does feel like it could be anyone's game at this point.

      • David Perkins

        The performance that charted highest on iTunes was a song from the previous week. Hallelujah, let the oddities prevail!

  • Not Kevin Spaceys Lover

    On Tuesday's elimination episode: Team Christina's Michael Jackson medley.
    Best team/group performance of all time. Yes or no?